The Windup and The Pitch

Luke Miller, Executive Creative – Shop Marketing and Creative Group

We generally try to provide expertise or opinions on industry happenings when we blog, but this time we want to do something a little different. I think we are pretty well positioned as experts and thought leaders in the experiential marketing (event marketing, XM, engagement marketing, etc.) space, so instead of posting relevant, sharable, SEO boosting banter, we are going to have some fun and give you a glimpse into a day in the lives of #TheShop team.

It’s pretty standard for agencies to be scrambling this time of year. Everyone is wrapping up budget planning, so existing client visits are the reg and new client visits are the shit. Calendar year is wrapping, so, for those clients that are accounting on that cycle, this is a critical time of year for agencies. We recently took a trip to Portland to visit one of our favorite clients (hint: they put 3 stripes on everything they make) and we’d love to share with you what those trips are like for us.

We are too busy to build in much leisure into our trips, but whenever we can, we do. This was not one of those trips. We flew to Portland about midday on a Sunday. We don’t like to travel with all of our pitch gear, so we usually “rent” it from Walmart. We do a couple standard things when we pitch, but we always custom tailor each pitch to fit the client or purpose. One of the things we like to do is bake fresh cookies, so we always try to stay at a Residence Inn in order to have access to an oven. In cases where there isn’t a Residence Inn available, we usually buy toaster oven. Warm cookies really change the dynamic of our pitches for the better, so we never skip this part of the pitch.

On this particular Sunday, we got in a little late and headed straight to Walmart, but Walmarts are a little different in Portland (what isn’t?). This particular Walmart was a micro Super Walmart (please forgive the oxymoron), so they had everything, but a little less of everything than regular Super Walmart’s do. I quite enjoy this, because it forces us to get even more creative than we already have. The pitch is already planned, we have a shopping list, but this Walmart has thrown a cog in that plan. We adapt. We make shopping decisions that still let us pitch without a hitch. Finally, we can leave this wretched Walmart and get back to the hotel. We still haven’t even run through the final pitch.

Pitch perfect, practice makes perfect…how does the saying go? The coffee is flowing well into this Sunday evening. We make tweaks, we practice, we make tweaks. Around 1 in the morning, we finally feel confident, well some of us, so we head off to our rooms for some much needed sleep. Except it’s hard to sleep when you’re ___________ (nervous, excited, have had too much coffee). We all run through the pitch, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, while we pretend to sleep. And then, the morning sun.

We all pop up around 5, we have cookies to bake after all. Batch after batch, the cookies get baked and placed into one of those potluck, microwaved heat pack, Pyrex thingies. It does the job well, despite us looking like Delores from down the street at a family reunion. We get to headquarters, where we wait for our host to come get us. She graciously guides us to the conference room that is more like a stadium. It easily could fit 100 plus, but today about 20 individuals have a generous space to spread out.

Now, this part is top secret, so we will just do a Seinfeld…yada yada yada, the pitch went great! We all take a deep breath and head off to the employee store for some much needed retail therapy. We run into some other people we know. Conversations flow, just like they do with old friends. We love this place. We feel like we belong. Despite the nerves of a big pitch, it was comfortable and we depart with full hearts and the knowledge that people here trust us to help them do their jobs better.

We head to the PDX airport, take an obligatory #PDXCarpet pic, and head home. It’s only Monday after all and we have a full workweek ahead. Onto the next one.

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